The girl who can't stop eating: Young woman with rare disease will even binge on SOAP and DOG BISCUITSJade Hall, 20, weighs 20 stone and can still be hungry after 12 courses
13:27 GMT, 26 May 2012
This is the girl whose rare genetic disorder makes her want to eat anything she can lay her hands on – even soap and dog biscuits.
Jade Hall, 20, needs round-the-clock care from her family at their Cambridgeshire home, because she could binge-eat herself to death if left alone.
She now weighs 20 stone and her mother Jane endures a daily battle with her insatiable appetite.
Insatiable appetite: Jade Hall, 20, has an incurable genetic disease and has to be cared for around the clock by her mother Jane
'Jade could eat a 12-course meal and still think she was starving,' said Mrs Hall. 'At times she'd be so desperate for food, she would eat soap or dog biscuits.
'Because her body isn't able to efficiently convert fat into muscle we have to put Jade on a strict diet for life – or she would become so fat she would die.'
Jade is not supposed to consume more than 750 calories a day, but Mrs Hall, 50, said she had found her daughter hiding food and has had to put locks on the cupboard doors.
The eldest of three girls, Jade was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) at the age of four, a condition which is characterised by intense hunger pangs and a constant appetite.
Jade's brain does not send signals to let her body know when she is full, and like others with PWS she has learning difficulties and slower emotional development.
Mrs Hall, the daughter of deceased EastEnders star Mike Reid, also lives with from retired builder husband Des, 63, Jade's younger sisters Lucy, 17, and Lily, 13.
The mother of three added: 'She'll tell you she can't eat too much or she'll die, but the words don't really mean anything to her. She can't stop herself.
Strict diet: Jade is 20 stone and will eat 12-course meals if she is not stopped by her family
Never full: Jade lives with her parents and sisters Lily, 13 and Lucy, 17, and the family have got used to hiding food and locking cupboards
'Until recently, we trusted Jade to tell us what she'd eaten. But then I started finding crumbs in her dressing gown pocket and chocolate wrappers hidden in her drawers and realised she was lying.
'I'd show her the empty crisp packets and she's deny having eaten them. We've now put a lock on the pantry to stop her giving in to temptation.
'Jade will binge on anything she can find. It was so upsetting when I found her eating the soap. She was having a bath and I turned my back on her for one second.
'Then there was the time I caught her eating dog biscuits from the dog's bowl. It's times like this that you realise how ill Jade is.'
At birth, Jade refused to feed and showed signs of physical and mental underdevelopment. She was fed through a tube while doctors ran tests to determine what was wrong.
At the age of 16 months, however, her appetite returned and she began to put on weight very rapidly.
Jade's family realised something was wrong after she refused to eat at birth and then began putting on weight extremely rapidly
Princess: Jade with her grandfather, the late Mike Reid, who played Frank Butcher in EastEnders
Mrs Hall said: 'Although she wasn't diagnosed with PWS until she was older, I noticed something was wrong when she was still a baby.
'She didn't have much mobility and showed no interest in food. She was very small for her age.
'In the beginning we fed her every three hours and it took two hours to get three ounces of milk down her.
'After about a year and a half her appetite came back in a big way and we had to start cutting back on her food intake.'
Jade's weight climbed steadily as she got older and by the time she was seven she weighed five stone, a stone-and-a-half heavier than average. She was still just as overweight at 12, when she weighed eight-and-a-half stone.
Mrs Hall said she had had to deal with they way her daughter is seen by people who don't understand her condition.
'I've been thrown out of Tesco before for confronting someone who insulted Jade,' she said.
Carefully monitored: Jade's condition means she puts on weight very rapidly so she is not supposed to consume more than 750 calories a day
'They talked about her weight like she wasn't there and I couldn't hold back. I rammed my trolley into them and got escorted out.
'But Jade's got a terrible incurable disease that makes her put on weight. So when I say she's fat but it's not her fault, I'm telling the truth.'
PWS affects roughly one in every 25,000 live births in the UK. After Jade's birth, her grandfather Mr Reid – who played Frank Butcher in EastEnders for almost 20 years – spent seven days in the hospital with her.
Mrs Hall said: 'He used to call her Princess. They had a really close relationship and her condition made no difference to him at all. He was great with her.'
Growing up, Jade would ransack the fridge and cupboards, eat leftovers when Mrs Hall wasn't looking and constantly beg for food.
Childhood: Jade's weight climbed steadily as a youngster and by the time she was seven she was five stone
Mrs Hall said one of the hardest things was having to continually say no to her child. 'No was the first word Jade learned. It's very damaging to keep hearing that word, but I say it out of love.
'She learned to be crafty and would ask to make me a cup of tea so she could eat the sweeteners.'
Allowing Jade to get her own way could have very real consequences. Mrs Hall added: 'Because she has such a low metabolic rate, to burn off 100 calories Jade would have to walk four miles.
'She has an exercise bike in her bedroom – but we have to bribe her to go on it.
'I make her go up and down the stairs by asking her to fetch me things.'
Each day Jade eats between 750 and 950 calories in healthy food. She eats porridge for breakfast, chicken and salad for lunch and a small, low-fat portion of whatever the family is eating for dinner.
Any deviation from her meal plan can result in weight-gain that can take weeks to lose.
At risk: Jade suffers from learning difficulties and does not realise the seriousness of her problem
Mrs Hall said: 'However hard I try to keep her on a diet, Jade seems to get bigger and bigger.
'She can put on three pounds in a day easily. I'm desperate for her to lose some weight. I sit and cry about it some days.
'But we can't force her to go to the doctors if she doesn't want to.'
Now Jade attends a local club for young people with special needs where she can interact with others in a supervised area, which also gives Mrs Hall a well-deserved break.
She said: 'My family is everything to me and I am so proud of all my girls.
'Jade will never be able to manage by herself or live alone, but as long as I'm here, she'll always have me.'